This year’s all-conquering V8 Supercars team, Ford Performance Racing, is set to announce its expansion to a four-car line-up for the 2013 season.
The Melbourne-based team has reportedly struck a deal with former team owner Charlie Schwerkolt, who currently leases the Racing Entitlements Contract for the #18 Ford Falcon to Dick Johnson Racing.
Schwerkolt is a former co-owner of Dick Johnson Racing, who retained ownership of this REC as part of a separation deal that was struck at the end of 2010 when he and Dick Johnson parted ways.
He has since leased this REC back to the team, which is this year run in Team Norton’s colours and raced by James Moffat as part of DJR’s four-car stable, which also leases the RECs held by Triple F Racing (for the entry raced by Dean Fiore) and Nemo Racing (for the entry raced by Steve Owen).
Its expansion to a four-car operation during the off-season has seen Dick Johnson Racing’s form plummet in 2012, with the team’s drivers Steven Johnson, Dean Fiore, Steve Owen and James Moffat lying 15th, 20th, 21st and 27th respectively in this year’s championship standings.
By contrast, Ford Performance Racing has proven itself to be the team to beat in 2012, with the team claiming nine victories in the eleven races conducted to-date this season. It is the team’s best performance in its ten-year history in the championship.
Ford Performance Racing’s drivers Will Davison, Mark Winterbottom and David Reynolds (who races in an REC owned by Rod Nash Racing, leased to FPR) currently lie first, third and seventeenth in the standings, respectively.
It is little surprise that Schwerkolt has perhaps sought to take his REC to a more competitive operation.
No figures from Ford Performance Racing or Schwerkolt’s camps are as yet prepared to go on the record about the impending merger, aside from confirming that a formal announcement would be made in the coming days.
It is not yet known who would act as a principal sponsor of this new entry, or who would be selected as a lead driver.